Friday, January 9, 2015

Maps Of Select U.S. Cities 1930

I came across this interesting set of maps on the National Historic Geographical Information System website (NHGIS).[1] NHGIS provides free online access to summary statistics and GIS[2] boundary files for U.S. censuses and other nationwide surveys from 1790 through the present.[3] There are different sample maps to view, one of which is a set of maps for three U.S. cities, created from 1930 federal census data.

The maps show the distribution of first and second generation Irish immigrants in the cities of Boston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. There can sometimes be ambiguity as to whether a first generation immigrant is the foreign-born person who immigrated or their native-born children. Social science researchers and demographers mostly refer to the first generation as those who are foreign-born and immigrated to the U.S.

Unfortunately the detail is not of the highest quality on the maps and there are no sub-boundaries for the cities. However, they can be useful when used with more detail maps of the cities. They indicate areas with high concentrations of Irish-born people and their children, and can be useful as  a starting point to work out where an immigrant might have lived upon arrival, if not already known. The thinking being that a new immigrant is more likely to first stay in an area with a lot of Irish people.

You can see this and other non-Irish maps on the NHGIS website by clicking here.

Note: as you can probably make out on the maps, the definition of Irish for this map includes those born in the then Free State and Northern Ireland.

[1] Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. 2011. accessed 6 December 2014
[2] Geographic Information Systems
[3] Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. 2011. accessed 6 December 2014

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